Huge jump in chemical prices

Written by Stu Salkeld

Stettler town council awarded a tender for the supply of water system chemicals at their regular meeting Dec. 6, while hearing from a senior staff member that inflation is taking a toll.

Councillors heard a presentation from Director of Operations Melissa Robbins regarding a tender issued for chemical supply for the town’s water system for the 2023 year.

Robbins also presented councillors with a detailed report from Chris Saunders, water treatment plant manager.

“Every year a chemical supply bid is sent to suppliers for process chemicals,” stated Saunders’ report to council.

“Chemical prices for 2023 have increased substantially for a second year in a row. All but two chemicals saw an increase of price with over half of the chemicals increasing by margins of 24 to 53 per cent from 2022 prices.

“Historically, the water treatment plant uses an average of $160,000 annually for chemical. Due to the unpredicted price jumps on chemicals in 2022 through Jan. to Oct. the chemicals bought for the water treatment plant totalled approximately $224,400. The 2023 operating budget for chemicals is set at $192,500.”

In a chart within the report a number of important water additives were listed with their 2021 price compared to the eventual 2022 price.

Copper sulphate was listed as $4.77 per kg in 2021 whereas it ended up at $8.42 the following year. Aqua ammonia was listed in the chart at $1.54 per kg in 2021 while by 2022 it went up to $2.65 per kg.

Robbins explained staff tried their best to find the best deal possible and to that end her recommendation was to purchase certain chemicals from one of four suppliers, always going for the best value: Cleartech, Klearwater, Chemtrade and Brenntag.

During discussion Robbins also pointed out some suppliers offered better volumes than others.

Councillors unanimously approved the chemical bid tenders for the 2023 year as it was presented.

Coun. Wayne Smith noted he was happy to see the care and attention put into the tender to get the best deal for Stettler taxpayers.

Board of trade budget

Stettler town council decided to hold over the Stettler Regional Board of Trade (BOT) proposed 2023 budget to a future meeting after some councillors requested more information on an increase of about $40,000.

The proposed budget was presented by BOT representatives Byron Geddes and Donna Morris who noted the organization was requesting a net $413,787 from the Town of Stettler, about $40,000 more than last year.

In a memo prepared by Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky it was stated the proposed budget requested $555,087 in town funding which would be offset by $141,300 in BOT revenue for a final request of $413,787.

A breakdown included in the memo noted the roughly $40,000 would cover salaries ($10,420), summer wages – contractor ($10,000), janitor ($1,450), supplies ($3,000), utilities ($770), advertising ($2,640) and events ($13,100).

In their presentation Geddes and Morris explained the BOT’s facing the same inflationary pressures everyone else is currently coping with, plus the BOT is introducing two new events in 2023: a home show and a fish derby. They added that the proposed budget included about $10,000 for a desktop publishing contractor who would help with online promotion among other work.

Geddes and Morris reviewed the BOT’s successes in 2022, including a successful trade show, two awards galas, an employment and fair and much more and also went into detail about many services the BOT provides, including information on post-COVID business navigation.

They noted the home show evolved from the fact Stettler and surrounding area has a large number of homebuilding and buying experts, while it was noted the BOT would purchase a $1,200 drone for use during the fish derby for things like ensuring participants follow the rules.

Mayor Sean Nolls noted that a roughly $40,000 increase would translate to a 2.8 per cent property tax hike.

Councillors approved a staff recommendation to refer the 2023 BOT proposed budget to a future meeting.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.